We're now officially 4 days into the New Year. Slates have been cleaned and resolutions have been made. Gym parking lots are overflowing, juice bars are jumping for joy and kale is flying off the shelf. That's because, according to details.com, a whopping 66% of all New Year's Resolutions are health related.
Sadly, one-third of those resolutions will be abandoned by the end of January. And if you're one of the lucky few who are still going strong in February, there's a good chance you'll fail before the year is out. I'm not trying to be dismal, I'm just sharing the facts.
According to Forbes.com approximately half of all Americans make New Year's resolutions, yet only 8% of those people actually follow through and succeed.
I think it's high time we increase that percentage, don't you? If you've set resolutions for 2016, I've got Ten Tips to Make Your Resolutions Stick!
1. Get Clear on Your Goals
Don't just set a New Year's resolution to lose weight, eat healthier or save more money; get clear on what it is that you want to do and by when. Setting clear, timely, specific goals will help you to stay focused and give you a benchmark for success. For example, if you want to lose weight, set a goal that states exactly how much weight you want to lose and by when.
2. Create a Plan
Antoine de Saint-Exupry said it best, "A goal without a plan is just a wish." Once you've set specific goals, you'll need to create a plan for how you intend to accomplish those goals. Your plan may be something like I will exercise four days a week on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays after work. I will accomplish this by going straight to the gym from work and completing a 45-minute workout. Having a clear plan in place will increase your chance of joining the successful 8%.
3. Eliminate Excuses
Plans are great, but life likes to throw monkey wrenches in them regularly. "Hello, this is life calling. I know you planned on going to the gym today, but little Amy is sick so you have to leave work early and take care of her. No gym for you - haha!" You can combat this with what I call the No Excuses Clause (aka back-up plan). For example, if you plan to work out 4 days a week after work, choose an alternate day to work out in case something comes up at work or home that prevents you from doing so.
4. Put it in Writing
You've set your goals, determined your plan of action and created a back-up plan so that you can tell those excuses where to go. Now write them down! Writing down your intentions (intentions = goals + plans + back-up plan) will reinforce your intent, create accountability and serve as a reminder so you don't forget your goals. Basically, you're creating a contract with yourself. To further increase your probability of success, post your intentions some place you'll see them daily.
5. Take Action
A plan without action is useless. If you don't take that plan and do something with it, nothing will ever come to fruition. That's why you must take action and execute your plan for success. Don't wait - there's no time like the present to get started!
6. Get an Accountability Partner
Share your resolutions with a friend or family member. Numerous studies have shown that people who have support when trying to attain a goal are more successful than those who don't. Furthermore, people who share similar goals and work toward achieving those goals together have an even higher success rate, especially when those goals are health related. This is because you have someone to help hold you accountable and who is going through a shared experience so you don't feel alone in your journey.
7. Take Small Steps
Small steps lead to big accomplishments. Many times goals are large and take a long period of time to achieve. Because of this, it's easy to get overwhelmed or discouraged on the road to success. To keep yourself motivated and progressing, break your larger goals up into smaller benchmarks for success. For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds in 3 months, set monthly weight loss goals for yourself and measure your progress along the way.
8. Celebrate Your Successes
As you reach your success benchmarks and accomplish your goals, make sure to celebrate and acknowledge your success. All too often we beat ourselves up for missteps, but we rarely celebrate our achievements. By focusing on the progress you've made, you'll remain motivated and on track toward accomplishing your larger goals.
9. Strive for Progress Not Perfection
Many times we feel like it's all or nothing. Set a goal to save $1000, but only saved $700? That's okay! You still have $700 more in the bank than you did. You may not be exactly where you planned to be, but you're in a better place than you were, and that's something to cheer about.
10. Forgive Yourself
Despite our best efforts, we're all bound to fall short or experience failure from time to time. When this happens, don't beat yourself up. Forgive yourself and move on. After all, failure is proof that you're trying. And if you don't try, you can never succeed. Use failure as a learning experience, adapt your plan and then try again.